HALLOWELL — The City Council plans to meet Monday to discuss several options presented by the Maine Department of Transportation related to a much-maligned crosswalk on Water Street.

The special meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The council expects to meet again March 12 for its regularly scheduled meeting.

The crosswalk in question — at Dummers Lane and Water Street, which also is U.S. Route 201 — was removed several years ago because it didn’t comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and it was not included in the transportation department’s plan to reconstruct Water Street, a project set to begin in about a month.

The crosswalk, which would be the fifth on the busy downtown street, was also not in the Highway Committee’s recommended plan to the DOT when it was presented before the project was approved.

According to City Manager Nate Rudy, the DOT gave the city three options for the crossing at Dummers Lane:

• Move the Central Street crosswalk to the north side of the intersection of Central and Water streets, which would result in no loss of parking spaces.

• Remove the crosswalk at Central and Water streets and put one on the south side of Dummers Lane across Water Street, which would result in the loss of three to four parking spots.

• Do nothing and the leave the plan without any changes to any proposed crossings.

At last month’s council meeting, the council voted to ask project manager Ernie Martin to look into adding the fifth crosswalk to the plan after hearing feedback from the community.

Liberal Cup owner Geoff Houghton submitted to the council last month a petition with 204 signatures in support of returning that crosswalk at Dummers Lane to the DOT plan.

“It’s the most used crossing in town in the busiest part of town,” Houghton told the council. “It’s a public safety issue.”

DOT Project Manager Ernie Martin told the council consideration was given to bringing back the crosswalk, but ultimately, losing three or four parking spaces was not worth it to city officials and the transportation department. Martin said DOT policy doesn’t allow for mid-street crosswalks, so a change order would have to be made by someone higher in the department.

“It’s just a busy intersection and people are crossing there all the time,” Houghton said. “This would be an obvious improvement.”

The Hallowell Board of Trade voted to support the addition of the crosswalk to the plan, and others who spoke at last month’s council meeting said the most important aspect of the proposal was ensuring public safety.

“(Water Street) is fairly pedestrian-friendly, and I’d like to see that maintained,” Houghton said.

In a contributed column last month in the Kennebec Journal, Douglas Rooks criticized the DOT’s $5 million project and said it doesn’t have any pedestrian amenities. He said Hallowell missed an opportunity to make life easier for pedestrian by adding curb extensions, or bump outs, to reduce pavement width.

Mayor Mark Walker addressed Rooks’ concerns in a contributed column this week in the Kennebec Journal and said the plan is something all of Hallowell can be proud of.

“All parties did the best they could, and we have a terrific final product,” Walker said. “When you have these many interests, clearly not everyone will get everything they want.”

Walker talked about pedestrian interests and the interests of bicyclists, business owners, business customers, residents, and historical groups. And because Water Street is a U.S. highway, using federal funds adds certain restrictions and considerations.

“I’m happy to report that after working with DOT, its design and engineering consultants, and our Highway Committee and City Council, the final design is one we can be proud of,” Walker said.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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